Portugal isn’t just golden sands and stunning Algarve coastlines – it’s also home to heavenly cuisine renowned across the globe. We’re all about immersing ourselves in foreign cultures and trying new recipes, so we’ve decided to focus on Portugal for the next instalment of our Eat Like a Local series.
To help us get to know Portuguese food, we called on several of the UK’s top cookery schools. This time round we’ve got The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery school, who gave us this delightful recipe for natas, a Portuguese sweet tart.
The Bertinet Kitchen opened its doors in 2005, in Bath. Under the ownership of French baker Richard Bertinet, this award-winning school offers a range of relaxed and fun courses for food lovers of all abilities, along with specialist baking and bread making courses.
Taken from Pastry by Richard Bertinet, photograph by Jean Cazals (Ebury)
Without further ado, here’s how to do dessert – Portuguese style.
Ingredients – natas
Butter for greasing the tin
100g icing sugar plus some more for dusting
1 packet of readymade all-butter puff pastry
250ml full fat milk
1 vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
25g plain flour
Cinnamon or nutmeg if desired
- Put the milk into a heavy based saucepan. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla pod along its length then scrape the seeds into the milk. Put the pods in too.
- Add the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk until pale and creamy, then add the flour and mix until smooth.
- Put the pan of milk over a medium heat. Bring to just under the boil and then slowly pour in half the egg mixture, whisking well as you do.
- Add in the remainder of the milk and whisk again, before proceeding to pour the mixture back into the pan.
- Bring to the boil, whisking all the time, then keep boiling and whisking continuously for one minute. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the mixture into a clean bowl or jug and scoop out the vanilla pods.
- Cover the surface with greaseproof paper straight away to prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool.
- Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin and dust your work surface with icing sugar. Take your pastry from the fridge and roll out until it’s around 4-5mm thick, sprinkling with icing sugar as you go. Use a pastry cutter to cut 12 rounds of pastry about 10cm in diameter (big enough to line the tin holes and leave a little overhang).
- Put the tin in the fridge and rest for an hour. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
- Remove the tin from the fridge and fill the pastry cakes with custard, then sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and the sugar is caramelised, while the custard is dark in spots. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin, then cool completely before serving.
Baker Richard Bertinet runs The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School and The Bertinet Bakery, both based in Bath. Find out more about the school via its website, or look at Villa Plus rentals in Portugal and take the first steps to your Portuguese getaway.